"Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week," Elon Musk tweeted a year ago. It seems this dedication to changing the world also has a dark side; namely, poor working conditions for employees at Tesla.
These have culminated in a U.S. labor judge ruling that the Tesla CEO has broken labor laws by threatening to take away Tesla workers' stock options if they unionize.
Amita Baman Tracy, a California administrative law judge ruled in a court filing on Friday, that Elon Musk and Tesla committed a series of violations of the National Labor Relations Act in 2017 and 2018.
The law violations cited include a tweet sent by Musk in May 2018, which says:
"Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare."
The judge has ruled that Musk was “threatening employees” with loss of their stock options, if they vote in favor of the union, on Friday.
As per Reuters, the ruling states that Tesla must hold a meeting at its assembly plant where Musk or his agent must announce the fact that they broke the law.
"An abusive relationship."
This isn't the first negative news story to come out on Musk's relationship with his employees.
According to Wired last year, one former executive at Tesla said, “everyone in Tesla is in an abusive relationship with Elon.” That was after stories came out of Musk firing employees on the spot while walking through the electric vehicle company's factory assembly line.
Elon Musk unveiled this 120-ton 'Starship' he plans to take people to Mars in 🚀 pic.twitter.com/3rcHASm0NG— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 29, 2019
Musk and Tesla are yet to comment on the ruling. In fact, some critics say Musk purposefully planned his recent SpaceX Starship presentation to distract from the upcoming court ruling.
While some see him as a genius inventor and someone who could save the planet, labor judge Amita Baman Tracy has ruled Musk as a lawbreaker, and someone who needs to implement better working conditions at Tesla.